Surging Ahead

Bangladesh Navy continues to build and acquire surface combatants

Prasun K. Sengupta

While the rate of annual commissioning of principal surface combatants by the Indian Navy in the last five years has dropped to dismal levels, those of the Bangladesh Navy (BN) have been on the rise with each passing year. The BN’s latest acquisitions are two decommissioned PLA Navy (PLAN) Type 053H3 (Jiangwei-II-class) guided-missile frigates (FFG) that are now in the process of being transferred.

Bangladesh Navy’s Type 053H3 frigate

The 2,200-tonne FFGs, formerly the Lianyungang (522) and Putian (523), have been undergoing refurbishment and re-painting at the Shanghai-based Shenjia shipyard and the PLAN’s East Sea Fleet’ homeport at Zhoushan. The BN will rename these two FFGs as the renamed BNS Umar Farooq (F-16) and BNS Khalid Bin Walid (F-19) once they enter service early next year. The BN presently operates four FFGs, these being a Type 053H1 (Jianghu-II-class) vessel acquired from China in 1989, a modified Ulsan-class FFG procured from South Korea in 2001, and two former PLAN Type 053H2 (Jianghu III-class) vessels transferred from China in 2014. It also operates two larger, 3,250-tonne ex-US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters, each armed with a 76mm OtoBreda naval cannon, acquired in 2013 and 2015.

Earlier last April, the BN had taken delivery of two new-build Shadhinota-class (Type C13B) guided-missile corvettes that were ordered from China in late 2015. These 90-metre corvettes, which were named Sangram (F-113) and Prottasha (F-113), were handed over to the BN on March 28 and arrived at the naval base in Chittagong on April 27. Both corvettes were built by China’s Wuhan-based Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group, with the Sangram being launched in February 2018 and Prottasha two months later. These latter two corvettes follow the first two vessels, the BNS Shadhinota (F-111) and BNS Prottoy (F-112), both of which were launched in Wuhan in late 2014 and entered service in March 2016.

However, the latter two corvettes have come fitted with the SR2410C 3-D multifunctional phased-array radar. The Type C13B corvettes have a beamwidth of 11 metres, draught of 4.4 metres, a full-load displacement of 1,330 tonnes, and maximum cruise speed of 25 Knots. Each of the four corvettes has a crew complement of 78, including 60 crew and 18 officers. The Type C13B-class corvettes are each fitted with a 76mm H/PJ-26 main cannon, two 30mm H/PJ-17-1 close-in weapon systems, an FL-3000N eight-cell launcher for surface-to-air missiles, four C-802 anti-ship cruise missiles, and a stern-mounted helipad.

In 2010 the BN signed a contract with China Shipbuilding & Offshore Company (CSOC) to build two 600-tonne Large Patrol Craft (PLC) in Wuchang Shipyard in China, plus another six in-country under licence. The first LPC, BNS Durjoy (P-811), was launched on 26 August 2012, while the second, BNS Nirmul (P-813), was launched on 27 September 2012. Both LPCs arrived in Bangladesh in February 2013 and were commissioned on August 29 the same year.

BNS Sadhinota

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